Show your sociable side to satisfy consumer appetites

The blending of real world and digital experiences can help us create content that resonates and creates loyalty, says Zone account director Ben Pilgrim...

Granary Square

I commute for two hours a day and recently, after spending this entire time browsing the updates of people I haven’t seen for a decade, I deleted all the social apps from my phone. Part of my reason for doing so was getting fed up with wading through ads on my feed, despite the ones I receive mostly being targeted and the brands I follow being ones I’ve opted into.

It got me thinking – when even these brands can’t maintain my attention, what chance do others have? Last week I sat on a panel discussing experiential disruption run by one of our partner agencies, Bright. Experiential is one of those terms that gets bandied around, but what does it really mean in digital terms? Is it just UX? Does it mean a trackable journey via analytics? Or the experience of watching a video? All this is important, but I think it goes much further.

One thing that struck me in my work with Bright is the need for valuable experiences for consumers. I find myself talking a lot about the idea of value exchange. In a world where consumers wouldn’t care if 74% of the brands they bought disappeared overnight (Havas Meaningful Brands Survey 2016), there is clearly a loyalty gap. Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages from all angles, so how do we ensure our messaging sticks out? In part this relates to being aware of your medium, as sales and broadcast messaging on social channels feels increasingly like a mismatch.

Consumers want to be participants, not spectators. According to GlobalWebIndex, 20% of Facebook users upload videos, 50% share videos on WhatsApp and a third do likewise on Snapchat. Not only are people sharing more and taking a stake in involvement, but they are moving to one-to-one channels. There are now 3 billion users on messaging apps (compared with 2.5 billion on social), so the prize is sizeable. In these dark channels, we need to offer something unique and distinct (exclusivity is gold in the new social currency). 

"Consumers wouldn't care if 74% of the brands they use disappeared, so there's clearly a loyalty gap"

The blending of the real world and digital experiences doesn’t just allow us to create content that resonates and drives loyalty, but also allows us to be where consumers are. As mobile commerce continues to grow (it’s predicted that by 2020 two-thirds of all UK e-commerce will be on smartphone) we need to ensure we give people exciting experiential value exchanges when they are out and about, and then make sure we back that up with online experiences.

This came together for us on a project for Kerry Foods’ Fire & Smoke. Working with Bright we were able to speak authentically to our target audience (through events such as Tough Mudder), but also generate great, relevant content. They also gave opportunities for content capture of video, which reduced costs, optimised our creative (through video view optimisation – which meant our media pounds went further) and by populating the content with excited and engaged consumers.

Earlier this year Bain & Company conducted a survey in which 80% of marketers believed they delivered an outstanding experience – but only 8% of consumers agreed. I can’t help but consider this in the light of GDPR: as consumers get increasing control over their data we need to ensure that we are giving them reasons to continue their subscriptions/loyalty/patronage and not just being a whisper in the storm. Experiences increase people’s likeliness to purchase by 14.4% so, ultimately, this is about business success.

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